Sunday, November 25, 2012

Conquering My Fear of Flying – Not Gonna Happen (But Here's Some Advice Anyways)

Over this long weekend filled with feasting, family, and friends, I came to the realization that I would be journeying to Ireland in less than a month.  Which means, I’m going to come face to face with my fear of flying, which hasn’t gotten any better since the last time Itold you about it 

I'm going to be flying on a plane way larger
than this device, which I flew fearlessly on back
in 2007.

Apparently Budget Travel magazine wanted to help my fear of flying.  I have been getting this magazine for years and even get their newsletter via email.  That’s where I read an article entitled "10 Tricks for Conquering Flight Anxiety."  It listed ten ideas that will help make your flight a little smoother.  I disagree, starting right with the first tip.

Give your phobia a name

Unfortunately it has a name.  It’s called, “I’m-plummeting-to-my-death-from-30,000-feet-phobia.”  The name is what’s so scary.

Familiarize yourself with airplane noises

OMG, I’m about 100 times more freaked out to fly after familiarizing myself with these noises. says “During descent, the flight becomes quite quiet as the engine’s power is reduced to an idle position and the airplane glides.”  The plane becomes idle in the air?  And glides?  No, no, and no.

What I’d really like to familiarize myself with are noises that indicate the plane is crashing.  I’m incredibly freaked out by the sound of the “fasten seatbelt”/”unfasten seatbelt” dinging because I feel the pilot is going to come on and make an announcement about my imminent demise.  I’d like to know how to differentiate between “We’ve reached out climbing altitude” and “Nice knowing you, folks.”

Check the turbulence forecast

I’m pretty sure if I knew my plane was going to hit turbulence, I’d crap my pants.  ‘Nough said.

Bring a photo of your destination

I’m not kidding when I say I nearly ruined a day in Milan (which wasn’t hard to do if you read my story about this city) worrying about taking a flight back to Germany.  I was super excited about Germany, and about the remainder of my honeymoon, but I couldn’t shake the anxiety that was building.  My sister-in-law says she’s going with this tip for our trip, but I know we’ll be clawing at each other and holding on for dear life when that plane takes off for the Emerald Isle.

Skip the coffee – and the wine

Are you freaking out of your mind?  First of all, I don’t skip wine for anything, especially not during my potential last moments on earth.  Plus, my doctor recommended I drink wine to calm down.  That actually sounds like pretty bad medical advice now that I read it, I promise my doctor doesn’t operate out of the back of a van!

Bring a book you’ve already started or tune into a television series you already know 

I partially agree with this advice, but I’d like to add on: do something as mindless and mind-consuming as possible.  For instance, I thought that playing 45,000 rounds of Angry Birds would help, but something about the motion of the plane and the motion of birds flying into buildings didn’t mesh well.  However, reading trashy magazines was slightly effective (especially when paired with wine!).

Share your secret with the flight attendants

I did that.  I said, “I’m afraid of flying, so I’m going to need constant fill-ups on this wine.”  The flight attendant was very courteous in following my requests.

Embrace safety information

I do.  I’m the only one watching that safety demonstration.  However, I’m not sure how handy the “floatation device” will be if we’re crashing.

Use this breathing technique

I have practiced yoga for more than 10 years now and I’m a strong believer in using breath to work with the body.  Deep breathing is the only advice I think truly works.  However, it's brief.  I breathe in for a count of eight, then out for a count of eight.  After doing that for a minute or so, I am much calmer.  Until that damn fasten seatbelt ding comes on again!

Have one of two relaxation remedies handy – but use them only as a last resort

When I posted something on Facebook about being afraid of flying, many of my friends posted back with “Xanax,” “Valium,” and “Adavan.”  I have tried the drug route before (much more helpful when paired with alcohol, which sounds very dangerous), but I’m afraid of ending up like this.


"There's a colonial woman on the wing, the woman on the wing, there’s something they’re not telling us!"  That will be me after taking Xanax, Valium, and Adavan.  Haha, that clip makes me laugh so much, maybe I’ll just watch it over and over for the eight hour flight.  That should quell my fear a little.

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